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Subchapter 6. Elevator Safety Orders
Article 8. Machinery and Equipment for Power Cable-Driven Passenger and Freight Elevators
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§3032. Counterweights.

(a) Frames. Counterweight weight sections shall be mounted in structural or formed metal frames, so designed as to retain the weights securely in place.

EXCEPTION: Existing counterweights secured together by rods and guided on slots in the guide weights or by separate guide shoes.

(1) The counterweight frame shall be constructed so the nominal clearance between the face of the rail and the frame does not exceed 1/2" on each side at the approximate center of the frame.

(2) The counterweight frame and subweights shall be constructed so the subweights occupy not less than 2/3 of the counterweight frame space.

(b) Tie Rods. At least two tie rods shall be provided which shall pass through all weight sections and through the top and bottom structural members. Tie rods shall be provided with lock nuts and cotter pins at each end.


1. Counterweights installed before June 5, 1947, shall be securely retained in place. See Section 3032(g).

2. Tie rods are not required where other means are provided to retain weight sections in place if they become broken.

3. The tie rods need not pass through the top structural member provided some equally effective method of retaining the weights in the frame is provided.

(1) Existing rod-type counterweights installed since June 5, 1947, shall be secured together with not less than four rods, at least two of which pass through holes in each weight section.

(2) Where material other than cast metal or steel subweights secured by tie rods in a structural frame is used as a counterweight, the plans for the counterweight shall be submitted to the Division for approval.

(c) Guiding of Counterweights. All elevator counterweights shall run in guides.

EXCEPTION: Existing counterweights running in boxes.

(1) Counterweight frames shall be guided on each guide rail by upper and lower guiding members attached to the frame. The guiding members or auxiliary guiding members and their attachment to the counterweight frame shall be designed to withstand seismic forces of not less than 0.5g horizontally. The clearances between the machined faces of the rail and auxiliary guiding members shall be not more than 3/16." The engagement of the rail shall be not less than the dimension of the machined side face of the rail.


(1) Elevators where proper certification to the Division of Industrial Safety has been made by an engineer qualified under the Civil and Professional Engineers Act that the counterweight guides have been designed and built to withstand the seismic forces for which the building was designed.

(2) A period of seven years from October 6, 1975 will be allowed for counterweights of elevators existing on this date to comply with the requirements of Section 3032(c)(1).

(d) Design Requirements for Frames and Rods. The frame members and their connections shall be designed with a factor of safety of not less than 5 with the elevator at rest and the counterweight at the top of its travel.

Frames and rods shall be made of steel or other metals conforming to the requirements for materials in car frames in Section 3033(f).

Connections between frame members shall conform to the requirements in Section 3033(g).

(e) Sheaves. Where a hoisting sheave or sheaves is mounted in the frame, the requirements of Design Section 3101(b)(1) shall apply.

(f) Suspension Rope Hitch Plates or Shapes. Where counterweights are suspended by ropes attached directly to the frames by means of rope fastenings, the rope attachments shall conform to Section 3033(m).

(g) Securing of Weights in Frames. The weights shall be mounted and secured in the frames to prevent shifting of the weights by an amount which will reduce the running clearances to less than those specified in Section 3018(b).

(h) Overhead Stops for Counterweights of Drum Type Elevators. There shall be secured at the upper limit of travel of the counterweights of all elevators having winding drum machines, an I-beam or other obstruction so that the counterweights cannot be drawn up into the overhead sheaves or drum.

(i) Cars Counterbalancing One Another. An elevator car shall not be used to counterbalance another elevator car.

(j) Compensating Chain or Rope Fastenings. Compensating chains or ropes shall be fastened to the counterweight frame directly or to a bracket fastened to the frame and shall not be fastened to the tie rods.

NOTE: Authority cited: Section 142.3, Labor Code.


1. Amendment of subsections (a), (b) and (c) filed 9-5-75; effective thirtieth day thereafter (Register 75, No. 36).

2. Amendment of subsection (b) filed 6-23-77; effective thirtieth day thereafter (Register 77, No. 26).

3. Amendment of subsections (a), (b) and (c) which were filed 9-5-75 (Register 75, No. 36), was approved by the Building Standards Commission 3-26-76. History note printed in Register 78, No. 30 for technical reasons.

4. Amendment of exception within subsection (c)(1) filed 12-22-78; effective thirtieth day thereafter (Register 79, No. 1).

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